Manager Steve Bruce feels victory over Watford this weekend before the international break will complete a “wonderful” start to the season for Newcastle United. Bruce’s appointment was not met with universal enthusiasm after he was plucked from Sheffield Wednesday to replace Rafael Benítez in the St James’ Park dugout, but victory over Tottenham last time out in the league was a huge bonus.
They came crashing down to earth with a penalty shootout loss to Leicester City in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday night but will now have just the Premier League to focus on until the FA Cup begins early in 2020. Defeats to Arsenal and Norwich City had left the Tynesiders pointless after two games but the 1-0 triumph at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has been a shot in the arm for all at the club.
Now with the visit of the Hornets, Bruce wants to round off the start of his reign with another three points to end up where he wants to be at this stage of the campaign. “If we can get to six points, that will be a wonderful start for us. That’s been my aim,” he said.
“The players, since I walked through the door – apart from a horrible performance at Norwich – have tuned into what we’re trying to do.” The much-travelled tactician has been happy with his rearguard but wants more creativity in the final third. “Defensively we look rock-solid,” he added.
“We have got to still improve offensively with the ball, but hopefully that will come.” Newcastle are priced at 2.25 to be relegated and they can be backed at 2.50 to beat Javi Gracia’s men, with Watford on offer at 2.88.